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HOW TO USE A SPIKING ROLLER: COMMON SPORTS GROUND MAINTENANCE FAQS

HOW TO USE A SPIKING ROLLER: COMMON SPORTS GROUND MAINTENANCE FAQS
26/11/2021

Maintaining a sports ground can be a huge job and it often requires multiple pieces of equipment. It’s quite common for groundskeepers to learn about these tools as they work, so don’t worry if you’re not entirely certain how to use them. This FAQ will give you all the information you need to know.

HOW IS A SPIKING ROLLER USED? Most spiking rollers are pulled behind a tractor. They feature a turning barrel with multiple spikes set into it and a weight to press the spikes into the ground. There are hand rollers, as well, but these are much smaller, since you need to use your own weight to create the necessary force to plunge the spikes into the ground.

The roller is pulled across the greens by the tractor, stabbing the ground to create multiple tiny holes to increase drainage, aeration, and to boost the delivery of nutrients to the roots of the grass where it does the most good. This helps the grass grow faster and stronger.

There are different types of spikes available and some rollers have interchangeable spikes to give varying results.

WHAT IS A SAREL ROLLER? The Sarel roller is ideal for drying out damp fields and eliminating puddles after a rain. The more play a green has seen, the more packed the soil becomes. This helps seal the soil and prevent it from absorbing the water from rainfalls, so the rain simply sits on top of the ground. The result is a field that no one wants to play on.

With the Sarel roller, you can eliminate this problem rapidly. The spikes are designed to leave thousands of small holes that will break the surface of the field and help the soil drain. However, this roller also includes a brush that pushes rainwater and dew into the holes for rapid absorption. It quickly disperses surface water and directs it to the roots of the grass, where it is most needed.

HOW DO YOU USE A BROADCAST SPREADER? A broadcast spreader is meant to make it simpler to feed the greens. You can use any type of turf or lawn nutrients and simply apply them with the broadcast spreader.

To apply, fill the hopper of the broadcast spreader with the fertiliser and set the edge guard to ‘on’. This will prevent the fertiliser from being spread outside of the field. The spreader will also have a volume setting, which you should set to the specifications on the fertiliser.

Now, walk around the edge of the field with the edge spreader on to fertilise the first strip. From there, you can turn off the edge protection and walk up and down the field. The distance between rows will depend on the size of the broadcast spreader, but generally you want each row to be 1.5 meters apart. This allows the fertiliser to spread evenly without excess in the middle.

WHAT IS A PLUGGER FOR? Planting is a huge part of what you’ll need to do as a groundskeeper, so it pays to have the right tools. If you plan to plant bulbs, a plugger is worth the investment.

A plugger is essentially a round cutter that is plunged into the soil, then wiggled back out with the plug of soil it cut out. These come in a range of sizes, with three inches being a good size for most bulbs. Once you have the holes where you want them, drop the bulbs into each hole, then replace the plug and water thoroughly.

HOW IS A DRAGBRUSH USED? A dragbrush is a large brush that looks much like a broom and it is pulled along artificial grass or a track to remove debris and sand. Any surface that is being used regularly will accumulate dirty rapidly, so brushing it helps eliminate the build up of any debris. The brush is also helpful for lifting artificial grass that has been flattened with a lot of traffic.

In some cases, you may wish to use a dragbrush on regular grass to help fertiliser, sprays, or other things applied to the surface enter the ground more easily. The bristles brush it off the leaves of the grass and into the soil, where it can be more easily absorbed.

WHAT IS A PITCH DRY ROLLER USED FOR? Water can be a huge issue for sports fields and courts, including around cricket nets. If you need to eliminate water fast, a pitch or court drier can be very useful. It soaks up the water on nearly any surface, storing it inside the barrel, which may be emptied easily and then reused.

The dry roller is useful for tarmac, synthetic grass, clay, and regular grass. It will remove up to 65 litres at a time, depending on the size of the tank and eliminates surface water, as well as puddles.

HOW DO YOU REPLACE TURF? If you have a section of field that just isn’t growing as well as the other areas, it may be time to remove it and replace it with some healthy turf. Many sports areas keep sections of extra turf growing in order to do this as needed. You’ll need to use a turf cutter or stripper to cut out sections of the bad turf and then an identical piece of healthy grass to lay in its place.

For areas that are really poor, you may prefer a cutter that pulls out pyramid shapes to ensure there is plenty of nutrition in the soil, as well. The new turf will be rather obvious early on, but over time, it will blend in with the rest of the pitch.

WHY DO YOU NEED A DEW BRUSH? A dew brush is a wide brush that allows you to sweep the dew off large swaths of grass at once. They are often 2-3 metres wide to allow for rapid dew brushing. The bristles force the little droplets to merge and fall to the ground where they are absorbed rapidly by the soil. This eliminates the dampness on the grass, which can be slippery and affect players as they run.

HOW DO YOU CLEAN A TENNIS COURT? Most tennis courts can simply be swept on a regular basis. The tennis posts rarely need any extra care, so just try to avoid hitting them with the broom. There are also large squeegees for tennis courts that allow you to push the water off the court much faster than you would with a broom. If water is an issue, you may also use a pitch dry roller.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO LEVEL A FIELD? There are multiple tools designed to help level areas around the grounds. If you are looking to level out sand or gravel, a landscaper rake is usually the best choice. These come in a range of sizes, with multiple lines and flat backs so you can rake everything out and then flip the rake over and smooth things over so the lines are not obvious.

For levelling soil and playing fields, you may need rollers, though a rake can be used in some cases. Rollers use weight to flatten uneven areas and may be used after you have filled in holes with soil.

HOW DO YOU USE SEED SPIKES? Hollowed out spikes, whether on a regular roller or a static tool for stamping, will give you the space you need to plant your seeds. These work very well for the areas of the grounds that you need to keep covered with foliage or flowers. It’s better to use a plugger for bulbs or small seedlings.

Roll or stamp out a section and then work your way through, dropping one or two seeds per hole. Repeat this until the entire area has been seeded. From there, you may go back and use a landscaping rake to fill in the holes with dirt.

There are many groundskeeper tools designed to make your job simpler. With the right tools, you’ll find that it’s easier to keep everything looking amazing.

Have more questions? Contact Sportsmark today to get answers.

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